A Time For Karate

Posted in Insights — Sep 02, 2006

This article turns up when the economy turns down.

As competitors scramble to address uncertain economic trends one thing is guaranteed. The old ‘duck and cover’ routine will not deter reorganizations in every impacted market. Those who may have been leaders or followers might not find themselves with the same role for long. While many companies are myopically focused on damage control, there will be a few insightful, well-run organizations that use this current economic landscape as an opportunity for gaining advantage.

A well constructed lead generation or identity awareness campaign can cost less cash and have dramatically more effect in a more challenged economic environment. You can take advantage of the more tentative stances many market leaders tend to employ to “wait out” confusion and perform a run-around move you might have previously not thought possible.

There are three broad principles to employ to promote success in this little sparring match; focus, communication and follow through. These are, of course, important at all times but, a little repetition never hurts.

Focus. According to the Zen of marketing, you'll never speak to everyone successfully. Know to whom you're speaking and speak only to them. Go for the soft sell and provide people the opportunity to investigate your offer further. Interruption marketing, banners, e-mails and the like, are beginning to only annoy people. Be creative with outreach, there are far more effective and inexpensive ways to get eyeballs than banner ads. Look to the communities who use your product or service for clues. When you find some things that work, keep doing them and keep measuring. One more thing: your efforts will probably be getting noticed by your audience just as you are tiring of them.

Communicate. If you're making an offer or attempting an introduction, keep it simple. No need for fancy footwork or jargon filled 'see I'm a part of the crowd' copy. Take a few deep breaths and settle into the comfortable calm of not underestimating your audience. The hyper pitch is a turn off to most people. Take the position of clearly introducing yourself and making an understandable offer.

Follow through. Though it may seem odd, many forget this important part of the match. They get caught up in the loud applause and lights and forfeit the match due to a no show. Do we need to take some more deep breaths? This part is easy. Don't offer or promise anything you can't deliver and make sure it's somebody's job to ensure every single response you get is responded to exquisitely. Just an aside: does McDonald's really think we believe their product shots? We've all seen them. Big juicy and well manicured. We've all also felt the deflation of peeling back the flimsy paper from a melted mess of cheap American cheese hiding a shriveled piece of wafer thin beef. Would you search them out? Or are they just there when you need them?

I'm off the subject. Or am I? So, to conclude this little rant. Stop stretching and get in the ring. There are many opportunities available for all products and services willing to employ a clear and unique outreach perspective. Those with the follow through to match their effective outreach efforts will celebrate the best returns while the rest are behind in the locker room still getting suited up.

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